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The Rock-itt : March 2011
The A League is moving towards its zenith for 2011, indeed the Grand Final is to be played on March 12th so you may well know the Grand Final Champions by the time you read this. Our league, the Football New South Wales Premier Division will be com- mencing its season on the weekend of March 26th/27th! A bit weird? Well yes it is. It doesn’t really make much sense for what is essentially the division two of the A League to operate in a different time scale. Moves have been made during the close season to move the NSW Premier league to a summer league, starting around August. Football Federation Aus- tralia was unsympathetic to those moves fearing that the A league with its stut- tering attendances didn’t need any further competi- tion from the State Leagues. In principal this is understandable but in practice it’s hard to take seriously as State Premier League games are poorly attended except where there is a level of national fervour involved. So, an- other season of playing through winter. The chilly days doing little to encour- age people away from their firesides to support their local and very able teams. Another season of the A League teams moving in when the State League Finals approach and spirit- ing away the League’s top players for their new sea- son’s campaign. This may not be so bad in 2011, Blacktown City had five of their first grade squad drafted into the A league before last season’s finals commenced. It is proposed that the 2011/12 A League season will start in August, hopefully not being buried as it was this season by the AFL and NFL finals. The situation is more a frustration than general anger. There are many reasons internally why Winter seasons suit Associations bet- ter, the fact that youth teams cannot play in the heat of a summers day being just one. Some teams are more frustrated than others with a winter season, especially teams who were part of the A Leagues predecessor the National Soccer League. Those teams, sup- ported on the whole by large and active so- cial clubs certainly feel they should have been included in the A League set up and still dream of the setting up of an A league division two or an Eastern Seaboard league. Football Federation Australia is currently looking at the set-up of State Leagues with a view to better integration with the whole of Australian Football. At Manly United we are committed to bringing top class football to the Northern Beaches to give local players something to aspire to. W e are also dedicat- ed to creating a career path for primarily local players to take advantage of. If we can deliver players to the A League or the W League then that is our prime purpose achieved. In recent seasons we have also been successful with players finding posi- tions overseas, we have former players cur- rently with Sunderland in the UK’s Premier division and Huddersfield Town in the UK’s League One. Our connection with Socceroo Lucas Neill is also a particularly fruitful collaboration. The annual Lucas Neill Scholarship Award af- fords emerging talent an opportunity to trav- el to Europe and experience what it takes to be a footballer at the highest level. Lucas is a former Manly Warringah player and we are further supported by Ed Neill, Lucas’s father who lives locally and is closely in- volved with our club. Head Coach Craig Midgley, a big season ahead but he is well prepared After a season with Sydney FC Youth Justin Hayward is back with us for 2011 and wearing our new strip